THE RESPLENDENT SUN TEMPLE
The Sun Temple at Modhera is one of the two sun temples in the world - the other being at Konark. Modhera, in northwestern Gujarat, 119 kms from Ahmedabad , is located on a high mound, on the left bank of the river 'Pushpawali'.
There is no data available about the dating of the temple. The only reference comes from an upside down, carelessly placed inscription on one of the walls, which reads 'Vikram Samvat 1083', i.e.1025 or 1026 AD. A substantial part of the temple is still in its original shape and material.
The Sun Temple of Modhera is an exemplary model of art and architecture of the 11th century, a style that was to influence the development of temple architecture in neighbouring regions.
DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE TEMPLE
The temple site at Modhera consists of three distinct units: the Sun Temple, the Nrityamandapa, and the 'Suryakunda'. Sculptures of noteworthy iconography are found all over the temple. The almost life-size figures in the panels belong to three groups of deities, namely the 'Adityas', the 'lokpalas' and the 'devis'.
The twelve 'adityas' are arranged around the western part of the cellar. They stand in 'Samabhanga' position, upon a pedestal of seven horses, denoting the seven colours that emanate from the sun. Between the boot-tips of the deities is the charioteer, Aruha. An interesting figure is an iconograph with three heads, three arms and three legs.
In other niches and corners are figures of Shiva and Vishnu, in various forms. The outer walls of both the columnar hall and the inner shrine, are exquisitely carved with bands of sculptures; depicting iconographic forms of various deities, celestial beauties, dancing figures, rows of elephants, and processions of people in different attitudes, etc. The assembly hall has exquisitely carved pillars.
Adjoining the Sun Temple is the huge 'Sun Kund' (Rama Kund) surrounded by step-terraces with numerous smaller temples numbering about 108.